May 4th, 2009
09:11 PM ET
12 years ago

Palin joins GOP rebranding effort, Limbaugh says leaders fear her

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Palin is taking part in a new organization to rebrand the GOP"](CNN) - A few hours after Rush Limbaugh told listeners GOP leaders launching a Republican re-branding effort hated and feared Sarah Palin, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor announced that the Alaska governor had finally accepted an invitation to join the group.

On a conference call last week for the National Council for a New America, former Republican presidential candidate John McCain said he thought his running mate would probably be part of the effort as well - but there had been no immediate confirmation by her office.

The two groups of key Palin aides - those in the governor's office in Alaska, and at her Virginia-based political action committee SarahPAC - have often given very different messages on her participation in various efforts: Congressional leaders and conservative activists have both announced Palin's planned attendance at major events this year after receiving assurances from one set of advisors, only to learn later from other aides that she hadn't yet made a decision.

The governor's decision to join the NCNA's panel of experts was confirmed Monday by spokeswoman Meg Stapleton.

At the group's kickoff event - a town hall-style gathering at an Arlington, Virginia restaurant - Cantor, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney urged the party to re-frame their message. Bush, in particular, expressed admiration for President Obama's political skill, and told the crowd not to get mired in "nostalgia" for past GOP dominance.

He mentioned no names, but Limbaugh interpreted that remark as a knock on Palin and President Ronald Reagan.

"Something else you have to understand is these people hate Palin too," the conservative radio host said Monday. "They despise Sarah Palin, they fear Sarah Palin, they don't like her either. She's, according to them she's embarrassing. McCain said, 'I was there with Ronald Reagan'.... No Reagan voter ever believed McCain was a Reaganite.

"And I think... a lot of this is aimed at Sarah Palin. When you strip all the talk - It's 'the Reagan era is over, stop all this nostalgia and stuff.' Clearly, in last year's campaign, the most prominent, articulate voice for standard, run-of-the-mill, good old-fashioned American conservatism was Sarah Palin. Now, everybody on this [NCNA] Speak to America tour has presidential perspirations [sic]. Mitt Romney there, he wants to be president again. Jeb may someday. Eric Cantor, some of the others, McCain - I don't think he does, but you never know. So this is an early campaign event, 2012 presidential campaign, primary campaign, with everybody there but Sarah Palin."

Limbaugh has not yet responded to the NCNA announcement. Palin joins Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, McCain, Bush and Romney on the NCNA's national panel of experts.

Filed under: Extra • Sarah Palin
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. Terry McCormick

    Sarah Palin an articulate voice? And then the rabbit went through the looking glass, much to Alice's astonishment. . .

    May 4, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  2. rob

    Keep eating each other up! What a dysfunctional crew.

    May 4, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  3. Mick

    Finally, something all Americans left, right and center can agree on.

    May 4, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. bcb

    ...yeah – Republicans don't like Palin and Democrats don't like Palin – well at least we all agree on something

    May 4, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  5. TimmyTown

    Sarah Palin is "the most prominent, articulate voice..."? Are you kidding me? The woman can't string two coherent sentences together. Any group of Republicans wishing to rebrand the party would be smart to distance themselves from Palin. Otherwise, it's not really a rebranding, now is it?

    May 4, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  6. ndb

    Boss Rush has spoken!
    lol this has got to be a joke...Palin? seriously?

    expect more repubs to abandon ship...weeeee!

    May 4, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  7. Alex

    No matter which way they go, this tug of war within the GOP is just hilarious. One of them needs to just fall in line, or the Dems are going to keep winning.

    May 4, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  8. Matthew Peacock

    If Sarah Palin was intelligent, I would like her. She's not. She's out-of-touch and doesn't understand whats good for this country. Her beliefs cloud her from what is necessary to create a reputable America.

    Nothing is going to change this. Let her become popular again, then let her fail at a bid for president in 2012.

    May 4, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  9. Robert

    LOL... 'Presidential perspirations???' Was that intentional, or did he just make another gaffe?

    Republicans (the ones with political sense) fear Palin because she can't complete a sentence in decent English, and is a joke to Independents, which both parties must win over.

    It's that simple.

    Let's hope one of the organizers: Cantor, Romney, Bush... McCain... someone... Let's hope they put Rush in his place. That would make an Independent like me ready to listen to what they have to say in the future.

    We need to see some backbone, and not the standard and 'old' anti-Democratic rhetoric. We need to see them stand up to the far fight luny fringe element within their party..


    May 4, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  10. Ralph A LaPaugh

    The Republican "Leadership" is terrified of Sarah Palin because
    she represents the true feelings of the majority of the Republican
    base, and a whole lot of "Middle America" also. They know that
    if she is nominated in 2012, SHE WILL WIN! And that would be
    the end of the cushy ride most of these congressmen have enjoyed
    for years and years. She is beholden to no one. She is afraid of
    no one, and the American people know she speaks from the heart.
    Why do you think that almost six months after the election, Democrats
    and many RINOS are still slinging mud at her? And she has handled
    it all like the warrior she is.

    May 4, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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